NBC Today Show's Al Roker, Cybersecurity Expert Renee Forney to Receive Honorary Degrees on May 13

Renee Forney and Al Roker

Champlain College will bestow honorary doctorates upon NBC's Today Show host and founder of Roker Media Labs, Al Roker, and CEO of the Forney Group and the Executive Managing Director of Global Cyber Security Management at Equinoxys Inc., Renee Forney, during the College's Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 13.

Champlain College President Donald J. Laackman will confer 505 bachelor and 11 associate degrees during the morning's 139th Undergraduate Commencement. An additional 207 undergraduate bachelor degrees, 37 associate degrees and 399 master's degrees will be conferred in the afternoon at the Commencement ceremony for Continuing Professional Studies (Online) and Master's degree students.

"Champlain is honoring Al Roker and Renee Forney for their professional achievements in fields that align with two of Champlain's academic offerings -- media communications and cyber security," said President Laackman. "Both honorees are prominent leaders in their industries who have helped prepare Champlain students for a lifetime of career success by creating ongoing educational opportunities for our students through internships and jobs after graduation."


Al Roker
Al Roker will address the graduating Class of 2017 in the morning after receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. 

As a host and weatherman of NBC's Today Show, along with Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer, Roker has the undivided attention of the nation (over 32 million viewers per week) every weekday morning as America prepares for work. A 13-time Emmy winner, Roker conducts interviews with celebrities and newsmakers around the world and does a wide variety of segments on every imaginable subject.

He is also an accomplished television producer and CEO of Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. (ARE); a thriving multimedia company involved in the development and production of network, cable, and home video. ARE produces programming for a diverse clientele including NBC News, MSNBC, Spike TV, Lifetime Television, A&E, The History Channel, E!, Discovery Networks, PBS, TV ONE, Oxygen, The Cartoon Network, The Weather Channel and NBC Television Stations Group.  More: https://www.linkedin.com/company/al-roker-entertainment.

As a leader in new media broadcasting, he recently launched Roker Media http://rokermedia.live (@RKRMedia), a creative consortium combining talent, production, amplification, and brand building for live streaming platforms, leveraging audiences where they live online. Working with Facebook Live, Twitch, Twitter/Periscope, YouNow and other social broadcasting platforms, Roker Media produces a new generation of media for an on-the-go, mobile audience. Roker Media also operates Roker Labs, a data and analytics division, dedicated to compiling and publishing actionable statistics and findings on how viewers consume media content. Roker Labs tweets at https://twitter.com/rokerlabs (@Rokerlabs).

He is a bestselling author with 10 acclaimed books to his credit. His latest, co-authored with his wife, Deborah Roberts, is entitled "Been There Done That: Family Wisdom For Modern Times." 

As an avid social media contributor, Roker regularly tweets @AlRoker; https://twitter.com/alroker, posts on his website: http://www.alroker.com/, and talks with his audience on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alroker.


Renee Forney
Renee Forney will address Continuing Professional Studies (Online) Undergraduate & Master's Class of 2017 in the afternoon after receiving an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree..

Forney is currently the CEO of the Forney Group LLC and the Executive Managing Director of Global Cyber Security Management at Equinoxys Inc. She is a thought leader in areas of Cyber Workforce and Enterprise risk management.

Forney previously served as Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) for Cybersecurity and Enterprise Operations, where she was responsible for managing the Department of Energy's (DOE) Enterprise Cybersecurity Program; advising Departmental senior officials on integrating cybersecurity; risk management; and implementing enterprise information resources management across the DOE. She provided executive-level guidance for the interagency on administrative cybersecurity initiatives; including the White House's Cybersecurity National Action Plan, the Defense Industrial Base Sector (for information safeguarding and critical infrastructure protection) and the NICE Interagency Coordinating Council lead by the NIST.

Prior to DOE, Forney was the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Executive Director for the Cyber Skills Management Support Initiative, where she was responsible for managing cybersecurity-related projects for the Undersecretary of Management. She led a collaborative effort to design an organization to strategically address and manage DHS cybersecurity workforce issues affecting DHS Components execution of cyber mission to include USSS, TSA, CBP, USCG, ICE-HSI and NPPD. In this role, she developed the Cyber Management Support Initiative Push Button, which assists hiring managers and human resource professionals. in accurately defining job descriptions for cyber professionals. In conjunction with the Push Button initiative, her efforts were instrumental in developing legislation and the Federal Cyber Security Workforce Strategy Plan. She also spearheaded the Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative which placed cyber students in DHS field offices and Fusion centers across the country.

Forney also served as the Branch Chief for the General Services Administration's (GSA) Business Intelligence Division, where she developed innovative enterprise solutions such as the FAStoday Portal, and led the digital information efforts for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Transition Team.

Forney also held a variety of information assurance and technology roles in the private sector, including Division Program Manager for Unisys, and Senior Security Analyst for Telos. Notable accomplishments from this time include managing collaboration with the Unisys Director of Enterprise Security Initiatives, United Kingdom, and supporting the development of a security framework model for Unisys Federal. Forney holds a Bachelor of Science from DeVry University and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from George Washington University. She is a Certified Information System Security Professional (

Forney holds a Bachelor of Science from DeVry University and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from George Washington University. She is a Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), and has held the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.


Champlain College Commencement Day Details
The 139th Commencement will be held Saturday, May 13 at Edmunds School field, adjacent to the College off Main Street. The main entry gate will open for guests at 9 a.m. The Undergraduate ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and should conclude by noon. A reception on campus will immediately follow the ceremony behind Perry Hall. Admission to the May 13 commencement, either under the tent or via the simulcast live-feed in Alumni Auditorium, is by ticket only. Campus and college officials will provide a broadcast link online at www.champlain.edu. Seniors participating in the ceremony are required to attend the graduation rehearsal on Friday May 12 at 10 a.m.

Hooding ceremonies master's degree candidates will be held Friday, May 12 at 4 p.m. in the Champlain Room and the Argosy Gym.

The Continuing Professional Studies (Online) Undergraduate & Master's Ceremony will be held Saturday afternoon, May 13 at Edmunds School field, adjacent to the College off Main Street. The main entry gate will open for guests at 2 p.m. The ceremony begins at 3 p.m. and should conclude by 5 p.m. A reception on campus will immediately follow the ceremony behind Perry Hall.

For more information about graduation, visit the website


Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 382 Colleges: 2018 Edition. For the third year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2018 "America's Best Colleges," and an "A+ School for B Students" and is ranked in the top 100 Regional Universities of the North. Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2018 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2018 College of Distinction. For more information, visit  www.champlain.edu.